Baking, Daily Life, DIY, Food, Pictures

Succulent Sundays: Wine & Lasagna (Hint: There’s a Recipe!)

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As you may remember (reading back to this post), I’m not really into alcohol but when my husband and I saw a Groupon for a small group wine tasting in our home, we pounced on it. 8 bottles of wine, a relaxed atmosphere, and some time with our friends seemed too good to pass up. I learned something…I like wine! The glass pictured above was one that our consultant said would be good with lasagna and so that’s what I made for dinner last night.

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I thought I’d take some time to share the recipe…

You’ll need:

1 pound lean ground beef (or ground turkey) browned and drained.

Lasagna noodles (you can either buy the oven ready noodles or cook them yourself).

8oz Pasta Sauce (I use unsalted)

8oz Stewed tomatoes drained and sliced.

2 cups mozzarella cheese.

16oz large curd cottage cheese.

2 eggs.

Combine the eggs and cottage cheese into a bowl and set aside.

Combine the meat, pasta sauce, and stewed tomatoes into a bowl and set aside.

Assembling the lasagna is very simple. Start with a layer of noodles and then add a layer of your cottage cheese/egg mix followed by a layer of your meat and sauce and then a layer of mozzarella. Repeat, repeat (typically you get two to three layers per recipe).

Bake in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Serve and enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine.

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 I suggest pairing your lasagna with fresh salad and homemade garlic bread. To make the garlic bread, I sliced a fresh made baguette from my local bakery, used my new Orblue garlic press that I purchased through Amazon (you can find it here). I combined the fresh garlic with melted butter and brushed it onto the bread before baking it at 400 degrees for about five minutes. It was delicious!

Bon Appetite!



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Succulent Sundays: Fried Zucchini (Recipe & Mouth Watering Pictures Included)

Yummm! It’s Sunday! A few weeks ago, at my local Farmer’s Market, I picked up (for the first time) green tomatoes. And I fried them because, let’s be honest, nothing says “let me enjoy these nice, healthy vegetables” like dipping them in batter, frying them in oil, and eating them with some ranch dressing. So naturally, I wondered what other would-be healthy items would taste good fried. It still counts as a vegetable, right?! So today, I want to share my recipe for fried zucchini. In case you’ve missed some of my previous Succulent Sunday posts, you can find them here:

Homemade Stuffed Peppers

Pulled BBQ Chicken Bake 

Homemade Lasagna (Don’t tell my mother I shared that one!)

Homemade Zucchini

For this recipe you’ll need: 

  • 1-2 Medium Size Zucchini Squash
  • 2 Eggs (Lightly beaten)
  • Milk (Aprox. 1 Cup)
  • Wheat Flour
  • Italian Style Breadcrumbs
  • Oil (Preferably one with a high smoke point)
  • Paper towels on a plate

Homemade Zucchini Recipe



Nothing beats fresh, locally grown produce. I was excited to find some great, seasonal, vegetables. I think the farmer who sold me the zucchini thought I was a little weird. Of course, my vague sexual references surrounding the size and shape of the produce probably didn’t help. Kidding (but seriously). Once you’re done thoroughly washing your produce, slice it into “chips” (see the picture below for reference).

homemade fried zucchini

Begin heating your oil (with just enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan) on medium to medium-high heat. You’ll want to remember to reduce the heat to medium (even medium-low if you need to) depending on whether or not your zucchini slices are frying too quickly.  I recommend leaving your zucchini in the breadcrumbs until you have enough for the entire pan. Speaking from experience, trying to place them into the pan one at a time, turn them as needed, while trying to be mindful not to burn them can be a daunting task for one person. If you have all of them ready at one time, it makes it just a little (okay, a lot) bit easier to fry them.

By now, I hope you’ve figured out that your milk, beaten eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs need to be in different bowls (/plates) set up in a station for easy access.

Step One:

Homemade Fried Zucchini


Dip zucchini into milk

Step Two:

Fried Zucchini Recipe

Coat zucchini with flour (I used wheat flour…you know, to make it healthy)

Step Three:

Homemade Fried Zucchini Recipe

Dip zucchini in beaten eggs

Step Four:

Fried Zucchini Recipe

Coat zucchini in seasoned breadcrumbs 

Step Five:

Fried Zucchini Recipe

Fry it up! It takes a few minutes on each side (or until brown)

Once you’re done frying the zucchini, place them on a plate of paper towels to ‘dry’ them off (get rid of that extra grease). Then repeat, repeat, repeat until you’ve fried up your desired amount of zucchini. Serve with ranch, or marinara, and enjoy!

Homemade Fried Zucchini

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Succulent Sundays: Homemade Stuffed Peppers (Recipe!)

I will never forget the day I was accused of being obsessed with green peppers. A friend of ours, who was also moving to the area, lived with us when my husband and I relocated to Kansas City after college. I took on the responsibility of cooking for the three of us and made a lot with green peppers. What can I say?! They’re delicious. Every time I make something with them, I think of this friend. So, G.L., this one is for you! A crunchy, munchy, melt in your mouth recipe for stuffed green peppers. From start to finish, this should only take you about 30 minutes. You’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees before you begin. Don’t forget to compost your green pepper scraps when you’re done!

Homemade Stuffed Peppers

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 3-4 Green Peppers
  • Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (~1 cup)
  • 8oz Tomato Sauce
  • Mexican or Spanish Rice (I used Uncle Bens)
  • 1 lb Ground Beef

Stuffed Peppers Recipe Under 30 Minutes

You’ll want to “gut” the green peppers (cut off the tops and use a spoon to take out their insides) before washing them. Set them aside for later.

Stuffed Peppers Recipe

In a large skillet, brown your beef (then drain before adding it back into the skillet).

Once drained, combine cooked rice (per the directions), beef, and tomato sauce. Stir.

Oven Baked Stuffed Peppers

Place your hollowed out peppers onto a baking sheet, stuff them (what kind of ‘stuffed peppers’ would these be otherwise?!), and top with cheese.

Stuffed Pepper Recipe In The Oven

(yummm! Cheese!)

Crunchy Stuffed Pepper Recipe

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. The peppers will be softer than raw but still crisp (and delicious!).

Stuffed Pepper Recipe

Serve and enjoy!

Homemade Stuffed Pepper Recipe




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Who Says You Can’t Have Cookies For Breakfast?!

If you’re a pearl clutcher who never (ever) eats sweets for breakfast, let me save you the five minutes and let you know right now that this post probably isn’t for you. A few years ago, when my dad was visiting, he ate an un-frosted cupcake for breakfast. My husband mentioned something to me in passing about it and it made me wonder…why do people seem to have such a stigma with what foods can be eaten during the day and when. You can’t have a cupcake for breakfast but somehow a muffin is fine. If you add an egg to it and serve it with hashbrowns and toast, suddenly a dinner steak turns into a breakfast steak. I wanted to take a couple of minutes to share a great breakfast cookie (gasp!) recipe with you. Calm down, it’s no different than having a slice of banana bread. I’m planning to eat one of these with some fruit and a cup of coffee in the morning. You can thank me once you’ve tried one. You’re welcome in advance.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (a mix would work just fine, too).

2. Frozen blueberries (I used about a cup and a half).

3. Dried 50% Less Sugar Cranberries (I used one cup).

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your oatmeal cookie recipe like normal.

Add in frozen blueberries and dried cranberries into the mix.

Now you might be wondering what transforms this seemingly regular cookie (shhh!) into a “breakfast” cookie. It’s the….drum roll please…

Muffin Pan

Muffin pans (and the extra water from the frozen blueberries)!

Which you should coat with a non-stick cooking spray before adding in the mix. I used the Market Pantry brand from Target:

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Let these bad boys bake in the oven for about twenty minutes (or until you can stick in a toothpick and have it come out clean). Here’s what they look like when they come out of the oven:

Berry Good Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

They come out so thick, soft, and delicious. Perfect with a steaming cup of cocoa or a nice coffee to start your day.

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie Recipe

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies Recipe

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Where I’ve Been…

I went to bed last night with the promise that I would remind myself to write a post letting you all know where I’ve been the last couple of days…You may not have even noticed that I was gone or you may have wondered why I skipped out on Friday Fictioneers this week, either way I’m going to give you an update. A good friend of mine is having a baby (yay!) and is due in February. I had the privilege of co-hosting a small get together in her honor today and have been working on it during my free time the past few days. I’m planning to do a few tutorials but, in the meantime, I thought I’d share some pictures.

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I’ll be back to my regular schedule tomorrow. In the meantime, how did you celebrate your Sunday?

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Succulent Sundays: Pulled Barbeque Chicken Bake

Pulled BBQ Chicken Bake

As part of my goals for this blog, I want to take a time every once in a while to talk about food, share a recipe, or post mouth-watering pictures. I’m not going to promise a new post every week but, when I do post on a Sunday, it will be part of a series I want to call Succulent Sundays. Today I want to share a very easy recipe I came up with and made on New Year’s Eve for dinner. It’s a pulled BBQ chicken bake and it is delicious.

Pulled BBQ Crockpot Chicken RecipeYou will need:

18oz BBQ Sauce | Black Pepper (to taste) | Minced Garlic (~2tbsp) | ~2lb boneless, skinless chicken breast  | Nonstick cooking spray | 9oz water

Crockpot BBQ ChickenCoat the inside of the crock pot with non-stick baking spray.

Pulled BBQ Chicken RecipeRinse chicken and cut into strips (this is just a small portion of the chicken I used), set aside.

Crockpot Pulled BBQ ChickenAdd in minced garlic, pepper, water, and sauce into crock pot. Stir.

*I doubled this recipe…in case you’re wondering why my crock pot looks a little full

Barbeque chicken crock pot recipeCook on low, covered, for 5 hours and 30 minutes.

When the chicken is nearly done in the crock pot, you’ll want to start preparing to make the bake.

For this you will need:

8oz Pepper Jack Cheese | Refrigerated pizza dough/biscuit Dough/crescent roll Dough |  Crushed Red Pepper

BBQ Chicken Bake Recipe

I used crescent roll dough. I combined two pieces and then rolled them together into a ball in my hands and flattened them out on the baking sheet. This made enough to split between two people comfortably (with sides).

Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe

I prefer to shred my own cheese so I use the food processor to do the hard work for me…

Barbeque Chicken Bake

Baked Barbeque Chicken Roll Recipe

You’ll want to take the chicken out a little bit at a time to “pull it apart”. The wonderful thing about making it in the Crock Pot is that it is so tender it just falls apart when you touch it. To “pull” the chicken, simply take two knives and separate it into smaller pieces.

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Bulled BBQ Chicken Bake

Place a layer of Pepper Jack cheese onto the dough, top with pulled BBQ chicken and wrap the dough over itself to form a pouch.

Barbeque Chicken Bake

Top with crushed red pepper and a little bit of cheese and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes (or until the dough is done).

Pulled BBQ Chicken Bake

Serve with cole slaw, baked beans, chips, or the side dish of your choosing. Enjoy!

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Homemade Crouton Recipe (with pictures)!

You might remember from my post the other day (easy apple turnover recipe ) that I went the non-traditional route for our Thanksgiving dinner this year. Part of that included a hearty romaine salad with homemade croutons. If you haven’t considered making your own croutons yet, I suggest starting. Not only is it super easy but it’s also a lot more cost efficient than purchasing them from the grocery store (plus you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what’s in your salad topping).  For this, you’ll want to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

You will need:

  • Bread (Any type will do. I was in a pinch with this recipe so I used three slices of white bread.)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasoning (I used garlic and herb seasoning for this recipe.)

Cut the bread to your prefered size. Since I was using sliced bread, I first cut it into strips and then I cut each strip into cubes.

Combine Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic & Hearb seasoning in a bowl.

Toss in the bread until everything is coated in the olive oil / seasoning.

Place in the oven at 400 degrees until the croutons are golden brown.

Enjoy over salad (assuming they make it onto the salad :)).

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Toddle Along Tuesday: Mommy Edition

I’m excited to participate in my first ever Toddle Along Tuesday, co-hosted by my incredible friend Amber at Goin’ Bananas. This week, they’re asking fellow bloggers to discuss their Mommy hobbies. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably already figured out that I love to bake.

I find baking to be one of the most relaxing activities and I firmly believe that cake and cupcake decorating are a form of art. Here are some examples of my work:

What are your hobbies?

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Mmmm….Apple Cinnamon Baked Treat Recipe (with pictures)!

I had planned to do an entire blog post on what we did for Thanksgiving this year but I realized it would be entirely too long so I’m going to break it into segments. I wouldn’t classify myself as someone who necessarily cares about keeping with tradition when it comes to food. To be honest, I’d be happier to do something unique every year rather than having turkey with stuffing and all of the “must have” side dishes. That’s why, since it was my turn to make Thanksgiving dinner for my family, I wanted to think outside the box. To start the evening, I had homemade bowtie pasta chips with an asparagus dip and a hearty romaine salad with homemade croutons. For dinner we had double stuffed lemon garlic chicken breasts with sides of mashed potatoes, green beans, and parmesan rolls. For dessert we had birthday cupcakes (my dad’s birthday is next week), pumpkin pie, and these baked apple cinnamon treats:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One Apple
  • One package of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits or Crescent Rolls (I used the Crescent Rolls on Thanksgiving and the Grands Biscuits tonight.
  • McCormick’s Cinnamon Sugar
  • Butter

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

I’ve made these twice now. The first time I left the skin on the apples but tonight I peeled it before dicing it (I have texture issues with apple skins). Whatever you prefer will work.
Dice your apple and set aside.
Unwrap the biscuits or crescent rolls and stretch out the dough (as pictured).
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave.
Brush melted butter on the top of each piece of stretched out dough.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of each buttered piece of dough.
Place a small handful of apples on each piece.
Fold over each piece in half to seal. Then brush melted butter on each side and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Once they’re oven ready, bake them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes (you’ll want to keep an eye on them).
For best enjoyment, eat them warm with a scoop of Blue Bell (my personal favorite) vanilla ice cream. I think it would also be nice with some melted caramel drizzled over the top.
Since I’m not doing specific posts about the other two desserts, I thought I’d include some pictures of those as well. The cupcakes were a plain vanilla with a creamy vanilla buttercream frosting and the pumpkin pie (not pictured) was purchased from Costco. I feel that I should mention, in case you weren’t aware, that Costco has the BEST pumpkin pies this time of year. Not only are they ridiculously large but they’re also only $5.99 and totally delicious.
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Baby It’s Cold Outside: Chili Time!

Now that the weather has been cooling off a bit here in the central states, I decided it was time to break out the crock pot and make some chili. I should mention that I actually made my first batch of chili a few weeks ago but I’m just getting around to blogging about it so let’s just pretend that this is the first time I’ve made chili in 2012, okay?!

You may notice the awkward presentation (namely the bowls) that I served dinner in. We have a dish monster in our house and are constantly finding broken bowls, plates, etc. Sometimes my bowls just up and disappear. My house isn’t that large (only about 1850 sq ft including our soon to be finished basement) so the “how” and “where” my bowls are missing really is beyond me. The husband and I are considering putting new dishware on our holiday wish list but haven’t decided for sure whether we actually want new dishes.

We don’t do a lot of meat in our household (mostly for environmental reasons) but I did purchase five pounds of beef in order to make a massive pot of cold weather comfort food. Making chili is remarkably easy. Here’s how I did it:

  • 5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3 cans kidney beans (undrained)
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes (undrained)
  • chili seasoning (if you’re going to use a packet of chili seasoning, you should use one packet per can of beans/tomatoes)

I browned the (unseasoned) beef on the stove and drained it before combining all of the ingredients into the crock pot where I cooked it on low for the first two hours and on high for the last half hour (2 1/2 hours in total). I imagine this might have been really good had I cooked in on low for several hours but I ran out of time so I may try that in the future. The taste was spot on with the amount of time I had so if you’re pressed for time and want to follow this “recipe”, it will work.

What’s your favorite comfort food?